Thieves tar­get Wal­ton school

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By JONATHAN CAR­SON

Equip­ment worth thou­sands of dol­lars has been stolen from a Mata­mata pri­mary school by ‘‘low-life’’ thieves.

Police be­lieve Wal­ton Pri­mary School was ran­sacked by pro­fes­sional bur­glars on Thurs­day night.

It is un­der­stood two other schools in the area were also hit.

The bur­glars jim­mied doors, dis­armed the alarm and stole 16 lap­tops, a cam­era, a por­ta­ble pro­jec­tor and money the pupils had fundraised. They also trashed four class­rooms, the li­brary and of­fice block.

They took prin­ci­pal Bob Mar­low’s bag of ‘‘caught be­ing good’’ prizes, which are given to a de­serv­ing pupil each week.

Board of trustees chair­man Be­van Pratt said the bur­glary ‘‘seemed like a pretty pro­fes­sional sort of a hit’’.

‘‘We’re only a very small, ru­ral school and it’s a real shame that some­one as low as the peo­ple who have done it have picked on chil­dren,’’ he said. ‘‘Be­cause at the end of the day it’s the chil­dren who miss out.’’

He said the stolen lap­tops had been dis­armed re­motely and would be worth­less.

Jenn Ire­land, whose 9-year-old daugh­ter at­tends Wal­ton Pri­mary, said pupils were up­set by the break-in.

‘‘The com­mu­nity works hard to pro­vide bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion for our chil­dren and some low-life comes in and tar­gets it, cleans it all out and you’ve got a lot of kids who don’t un­der­stand why.’’

A prop­erty near the school was also bro­ken into and al­co­hol, a tele­vi­sion and a stereo was taken.

Police sus­pect the two in­ci­dents are con­nected and are fol­low­ing lines of in­quiry.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can con­tact Mata­mata police on 888 7117 or al­ter­na­tively, in­for­ma­tion can be left anony­mously with Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111.

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